Babinda Harvest Festival was first held on the 27th of October 1962, however back then it was known as the Babinda Sugar Harvest Festival and was presented by the Bellenden Kerr Junior Farmers. Initially the street procession was held at 7.30pm and the Sugar Princess was crowned at 9pm in the Memorial Hall.

Entrants in the Sugar Princess quest came from Tully to Mossman and everywhere in between. Babinda’s own Joan Arnold (nee Dickson) claimed the title of the very first Sugar Princess. The day after the Festival an afternoon of water sports was held at the Russell River by the Russell River Water Sports Club.

Bellenden Kerr Takes Charge

Bellenden Kerr Rural Youth took charge of the Festival held on the 29th of October 1966, then renamed as the Babinda Sugar Festival. The street procession began at Babinda Show Grounds (now known as Bill Wakeham Park), and the Festival was held at ANZAC Park.

Not only was there a prize for the Sugar Queen, crowned by Former Test Cricketer Wally Grout, second and third prizes were given out as well. A dance was also held at the Hall, with entertainment from Michael & the Mustangs and Blu-Stars Orchestra. The Festival was televised by ‘FNQ Channel 10 – Cairns’, and broadcast by Cairns radio station 4CA.

Our Festival has gone through many changes including our name, but in 1987 we finally settled on the ‘Babinda Harvest Festival’

In all our years as a Festival, only 3 have been missed!

1 In 1988 a Cobb & Co Coach came to town

2. In 2006 Cyclone Larry interrupted our Festival plans

3. In 2020 COVID-19 stopped the world in its tracks, including our festival



1962 Joan Dickson (Arnold)

1963 Jannifer Harvey

1964 Kay Mann

1965 Barbara Kingston (Braithwaite)

1966 Desley Downina

1967 Jan Strutton

1968 Rosalina Corradi (Destro) (Pictured)

1969 Susan Omodie (O’Brien)

1970 Diane Fraser

1971 Bianca Prandolini (Jago)

1972 Lorraine Jones

1973 Lyn Lawson (willett)

1974 Francine Camilleri (Henrich)

1975 Lynette Guidice (Bartolo)

1976 Jane Harwood (Ballarino)

1977 Rosanna Torrisi

1978 Marian Prandolini (Ellwood)

1979 Gillian Raddatz

1980 Sheridan Morris

1981 Minnie Bombardieri (Francis)

1982 Maria Nucifora

1983 Amabile Destro

1984 Natalie Mellick (Nash)

1985 Kelli Grant

1986 Anne Dimarco (O’Brien)

1987 Donna Grant (Smith)


1989 Karen Wilkins (Edgerton)

1990 Juanita Mellick

1991 Sharon Richards (Fisher)

1992 Fiona Bettini (Williams)

1993 Toni Bartlett (Sharpley)

1994 Megan Agius (Keough)

1995 Paula Oliveri (Spokes)

1996 Taleala Wilce (Wilce-Bone)

1997 Kristy St John (Tsakasiris)

1998 Kristy Andrews (Lyons) (Pictured)

1999 Sharyn Anderson (Greenwood)

2000 Aysha Harburn

2001 Many St John (Starkey)

2002 Melina Parisi (Seawright)

2003 Sunni Day

2004 Alison Macklin

2005 Samantha Bormolini


2007 Josephine McCulloch

2008 Karina Kurucz

2009 Taleesa Keily

2010 Sandra Jago

2011 Cheyenne Morris

2012 Kerin Panebianco

2013 Claudia Galea

2014 Rachel Ugarte

2015 Ellie Kelly

2016 Courtney Spokes

2017 Grace Ehling

2018 Deni Bettini

2019 Codi Spokes (Pictured)